Damning report released on South African tobacco industry interference in tobacco control
ATIM in collaboration with local and international partners have released a damning report on the South African Industry Interference in tobacco Control.
The Tobacco Industry Interference Index Report on South Africa forms part of the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index, which has been launched internationally on 10 October 2019. The Tobacco Industry Interference Index report was published by STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products), an industry watchdog. This global survey, undertaken in 33 countries, reflects on how public health policies are protected from the industry’s subversive efforts, and how governments have pushed back against this influence. The results from the global index indicate that South Africa has an overall score of 72, which reflects on the seriousness of tobacco industry interference and how little protection South Africans have.
In South Africa, and globally, the tobacco industry has a long history of behaving unethically and unlawfully. Over a period of decades, the tobacco industry has misled the public about the dangers of smoking and the addictiveness of their products. They have used illegal means to break into markets and to actively stimulate and support illicit trade. They have paid billions of dollars in fines for misdemeanors in the past.
“It is precisely because we scored so poorly that steps must be taken to rectify the situation,” says Peter Ucko, CEO of TAG Tobacco Alcohol and Gambling Advisory Advocacy and Action Group. “The government, which is bound to comply with the FCTC and guidelines issued thereunder, must be encouraged to move quickly and dramatically to crush the interference by the tobacco industry in policy matters.”
“The government of South Africa is required to take proactive measures to protect public health policy from the vested interests of the tobacco industry,” adds Prof Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, Director of the Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research (ATIM). “In South Africa, and globally, the tobacco industry has a long history of behaving unethically and unlawfully.”
Measures need to urgently be put in place to counter tobacco industry interference.